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Major flower markets

The major flower markets in India

The major markets for flowers are situated in the states, which produce significant quantities of flowers. Kerala is one state that has a fairly large market without any production of flowers. Some states, particularly Southern ones, have more than one large market in the state as the area under flower production is fairly widely distributed. The major markets in terms of number of traders involved and the quantity traded are in the peninsular and east India. The major markets in peninsular India are Madras, Coimbatore and Madurai and Tamil Nadu; Bangalore, Mysore and Dharwad in Karnataka; Hyderabad and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh; Trivandrum and Cochin in Kerala; and Bombay and Pune in Maharashtra. The city of Bombay itself has three large markets. Calcutta in the east is probably the biggest. In addition to the market in the city of Calcutta., there are several fairly large regional markets in West Bengal. In the north probably Lucknow/Kannauj and Delhi are the big market for flowers besides locations in Rajasthan. It is tempting to give an estimate of the value of flowers traded in the country. As this is a study of the industry many readers would also expect an estimate. We attempted to estimate, but it proved to be quite a difficult task for several reasons.

Some of the major markets were visited for discussions with traders during the survey. (The markets visited were Delhi, Lucknow, Kannauj, Calcutta, Ranaghat, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Pune, Bombay, Madras, Coimbatore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.) First, the traders themselves are very reluctant, for understandable reasons, to reveal their volume of business. Second, the quantity of each flower, which comes into the market, varies from day to day. Third, the sale of many flowers varies widely not only from day to day but also within a day. We realized the only way to arrive at reliable estimates would be to monitor the markets over extended periods of time. The estimates of volume of trade one comes across, particularly in terms of rupees, are likely to be spurious unless they are based on traders reporting of their sales which is generally not forthcoming. So, we reluctantly present two indicators of volume of trade in some markets with a great deal of trepidation. The first estimate is based on discussions with traders. This information is available for some of the markets only. A few agents/wholesalers in each of the markets were asked about the volume of their business and their estimate of the trade in the market as a whole. The number of commission agents operating in different markets is also available to us.

Some estimates of total trade were given by the representatives of organisations of agents in a few markets. Two sets of figures are presented. The first is the estimate of trade by individual agents. The total for the market is arrived at by multiplying individual trade by the number of agents in the market. But there are problems. All agents do not deal in all flowers and our sample was not large enough to determine what portion of the agents deal in a particular flower. Therefore, the figures we have arrived at appear to overestimate the actual trade. The second set of figures is the estimate of trade in the market given by agents themselves. For example, the estimate of trade in rose is arrived at by multiplying individual volume of trade by the number of agents for the three markets in Bombay and are 31,500, 29,400 and 29,200 dozens per day while estimates of trade given by the agents in the three markets are 6,000, 6,000 and 10,000 dozen per day. These numbers should at best be treated as upper and lower bounds for the volume of trade taking place in the market. The second set of estimates is likely to be more reliable because it is based on the area of production. But the production areas themselves are the result of educated guesses of the people we surveyed except in the case of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. We have attempted to estimate the value of flowers traded in India. The total value of major flowers produced in India at the wholesale prices is estimated to be Rs. 1,219.4 million. There are problems here too. For some states, details of the area under production of different flowers such as rose which have both varieties, traditional and modern, pose difficulties. There is a substantial area under production of other flowers, the value of which is not included in the above estimate.

Although no formal efforts have been made to organize this industry a marketing system has evolved which performs fairly well with respect to incentives it offers to the producers and the price at which it makes the products available to the consumers. Flowers, being perishable and delicate, make their marketing challenging. Now we proceed with the discussion of the nature of demand and supply of flowers and the behaviour of market prices.

Flower markets in a few cities

Bombay :
There are three flower markets in Bombay. They are situated in Dadar station., Plaza (Dadar) and Bhuleshwar. The important flowers traded in these markets are the rose, marigold, jasmine, gladioli, tuberose, chrysanthemum, aster and daisy. The produce is brought to the market by the growers in and around Bombay. In addition, flowers also come from Bangalore, Madurai, Madras, Coimbatore and Pushkar Valley in Rajasthan.

Pune :
There is only one major flower market in Pune. The major flowers traded in this market are rose, tuberose, marigold, aster, jasmine and gladioli. Most of the asters and tuberoses traded in this market are supplied from areas around Pune., such as Alandi, Solapur Road, Lodi and Supa. Roses are supplied from Sangli and Tazgaon and to some extent from Nasik. Jasmine is grown in and around Pune. Producers nearby use bicycles to bring their produce to the market. Others primarily use state transport from moving the flowers.

The lone flower market in the city is situated near Bhadrakali temple in Lal Dharwaja. The major flowers traded in this market are marigold, jasmine and tuberose. The flowers are supplied to this market from villages within a radius of 50 km. The farmers bring them to the market on trains, rickshaws and tempos.

The trading in flowers in Trivandrum takes place in the Chalai market. The major flowers traded are different varieties of jasmine and marigold. These flowers are produced in the state of Kerala. The wholesalers in the market get the flowers from producing areas in Tamil Nadu such as Thovalai, Kumarapuram, Thisayanpillai, Tenkasi, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Kottigodu, Kovilpatti and Chunkhankode. As the flowers are not produced in this region, there are no brokers in the market. The flowers are marketed by a wholesaler/retailers.

Lucknow and kannauj
There is a single market in Lucknow. The major flowers traded in this market are roses (red rose used in garlands and pink rose petals used for the extraction of oil and in the manufacture of gulkand) and three varieties of jasmine, marigold and sunflower. The commission agents in Kannauj market deal only with pink rose petals supplied to the perfumes. The flowers supplied to this market are produced within a radius of 10km. Some of the producing areas supplying flowers to this market are Alamnagar, Mariyabad Road, Pataura, Narauna and Baravan. The major modes of transport used are cycles, tempos.

New Delhi
The only flower market in Delhi is situated in Fatehpuri near Chandni Chowk. The major flowers traded in this market are roses (red roses and rose petals), marigolds, jasmine and gladioli. The flowers come from producing areas around Delhi within a radius of 75 km. Some of these producing areas are Fatehpur Beri, Mehrauli, Farukha Nagar, Chattarpur, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Muradnagar.

Madurai has one of the biggest flower markets in India. The major flowers traded in this market are different varieties of jasmine, rose, crosandra and tuberose. The flowers coming into this town are produced within 25km from the city.

The malikghat bazaar located below the Howrah Bridge is the largest wholesale flower market in Calcutta. This market has the largest selection of flowers sold in the country. Nearly 40 different types of flowers are sold in this market during different parts of the year. Any flower can be sold in this market. Calcutta has a poor man’s flower economy. Small growers generally produce flowers and it is again common people who make up the buyers. The quality and freshness of the flowers, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Flowers meant for cut flowers and it is again common people who make up the buyers. The quality and freshness of the flowers, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Flowers meant for cut flower trade, namely gladioli and tuberoses are picked and the best of the lot are sent to the New Market near Park Street, which is an affluent locality in the city.

The flower market is located in the Central Market at Parry’s. This is the only wholesale market in Madras. The flowers sold in this market are crossandra, tuberose, jasmine, rose, marigold, etc. The flowers come to this market from nearby production areas such as Dharampur, Panchetti, Tambaram, and Ponnamalai districts. The flowers are also supplied from Maduri and Bangalore markets. About one half of the produce comes from local areas and the rest from Bangalore and Madurai. The flowers are transported to this market by buses, trucks and air.

Jambagh flower market is located near Mozanjahi market in Hyderabad. The major flowers traded in this market are rose, jasmine, chrysanthemum, marigold and crosandra.

There are two wholesale flower markets in Bangalore, one each at (better known as City market) and Russel market, Shivajinagar. The former is bigger and most of the wholesale trade in traditional flowers takes place there. Modern flowers are traded in Russel market. However, the bulk of the modern (non-traditional) flowers like long stemmed rose, gladiolus etc. do not pass through any wholesale market. The major flowers traded at the K.R. market are jasmine (mallige and kakda) crossandra, marigold, chrysanthemums and aster. Small quantities of rose (loose blooms and long stemmed) and gladiolus are also traded. Flower arrival in the market is seasonal. Jasmine (kakda; seentless white blooms) season in the market is between August and January. Chrysanthemums start arriving in July and last up to October. The demand for chrysanthemum, marigold and aster reaches peak during October due to dussehra, when buses and other bicycles are profusely decorated with flowers. Rose (traditional) is bought and sold outside the market premises generally. Wehre the sellers themselves retail them. Most of the trade takes place at predetermined contract prices. The city service buses carry maximum flowers to the city market from the villages and suburbs of Bangalore. Farmers bring roses on motorcycles also. Long distance flowers are however transported by bus, truck or train.

International market

Jasmine products are one of the most important natural raw materials in the perfume industry. The annual world production of concrete is estimated to be 12 to 15 tons [ITC, 1982]. India, with a production of nearly a ton, is third in position behind Egypt (6 to 8 tons) and Morocco (1 to 1.2 tons). Other producers are Italy, France and China. The major importers are France and the U.S.A. The main producers of rose products are Bulgaria and turkey. Morocco, India and China are the other producers. Annual production is estimated to be around 15 to 20 tons, much of which comes from Bulgaria [ITC, 1982]. India’s exports of rose water increased from Rs. 91,219 in 1968 69 to Rs.403, 826 in 1976-77. That of attar increased from Rs.11.115 to 467,178 during the same period [Chandra et al., 1979]. The leading importer is the U.S.A. as rose oil and its derivatives cannot be synethesised, the demand for them seems to be unrelated to price levels [ITC.1982]. But supply and demand was fairly in balance in the mid-eighties.